Friday, 26 August 2016

Dropfleet Commander "We DO need those Stiinking Magnets"

My previous post was about building one of the new Dropfleet Commander ships, in that instance a Seattle class Carrier. There has been a lot of talk on line about the possibility of magnetising the new Dropfleet Commander models. After a bit of shameless begging I managed to get hold of a second sprue from my mate Paul who had also attended the pre launch event at Cardiff last weekend, so decided to try magnetising the model to allow building different versions. I thought about this quite a bit. I certainly don't intend to do this a lot, but there are a couple of UCM Cruisers - the San Fransico Class Troopship and the Madrid Class which is a specialised orbital bombardment vessel, that I dont think I will need often, but having the option would be nice. As you can see from the pics below, they share the same superstructure and general layout, except the ventral positions have a large troop compartment or the orbital bombardment turrets.

These are rare specialist ships so I don't think I will be using them regularly, so it would be useful to be able to have the model do double duty. There are two much more common Cruisers that share the same layout, the Berlin Class which has a burn-through laser, and the Rio, which has a pair of heavy turrets. The Berlin has been one of the stars of the demo games I have seen, everyone loves the burn-through laser and the ability to saw a target in half, but I suspect the Rio may well see plenty of table time as a good all round mid sized cruiser. All I would need to do would be to magnetise a burn through laser and a couple of heavy mass-driver turrets and do the same with the troop pod and bombardment turrets and I could in theory field any one of four versions from the same model - sounds good.

Firstly I needed some magnets. I had some 2mm x 1mm disk magnets I used for small turrets on Dropzone tanks so they seemed to be a good starting position. I assembled the troop pod and the two sides of the main hull, then drilled out some holes using a pin vice. One tip to pass on, the turrets sit on 3mm "plugs" so take a lot of care drilling your locating hole for the magnet as you only have half a mil each way. I used a 0.5mm drill bit to create a guide hole before opening it out with a 2mm bit. I found wood bits were preferable to metal ones - no idea why but they seemed to work better.

Once drilled I stuck the 2mm magnets in the holes being very careful to get the polarity right. Another tip is to use a wooden tooth pick or a non ferrous tool to position the magnets. Its bloody fiddly anyway.

After that it was plain sailing! Actually it wasnt. The turrets on the Rio and Madrid both fit the socket fine, but the troop pod and burn-through were designed to be glued over \ on to the now redundant turret rings. This created a gap between the two sets of magnets which meant the connection was not that strong. With hindsight I could have predicted this - in fact if may be possible to glue the magnets directly to the burn-through without drilling out a hole, but that may cause other problems with the magnet detaching. In this case I dealt with the problem by gluing a second magnet to the first ensuring a contact with the one in the hull. I suspect it may even be possible to do away with drilling on the Troop Pod altogether and surface mount a 3mm x 1mm in the sockets - but I don't have one at hand, but will pick some up to try it out when the Kickstarter delivers "soon".

Once the magnets were in I assembled the rest of the model and here are the results:

San Francisco



So is it worth the hassle? I think so. The magnets give a good attachment to the various components so I can run several different options with the same model. The last step would be to magnetise the dorsal cowling to allow you to build the Moscow \ St Petersburg type Heavy Cruisers, but that is I think a step too far.  


  1. Awesome, thanks!

    That's how I figured it could be done. Good idea to put the larger diameter magnets on the Troop Pod.

    I had reasoned that it would be possible to magnetize the dorsal portion, too, but I reckon with as many cruisers as I'll be getting it won't be necessary. Having a few "dedicated" to just being "Cruisers" and "Heavy Cruisers", with variations within those, should be good enough.

    It's also reasonable to do the same thing with the Osaka and New Cairo, since they share the "Light Cruiser" hull configuration. Seattle is on its own, but that's not a bad thing, as from what I can tell from dread2005's videos carriers are just a very good thing to have overall. Need to see how many you can take in a standard 1,500-1,999 point Clash sized list, tho...

    Now I need to translate your metric sized magnets to my Imperial sized ones. LOL!

  2. If the main rules are the same as the beta then you can only have 2 Seattles at Clash level

    1. Thanks. I've got the beta rules (Admiral), just being lazy and not bothering to look it up. LOL.

      But 2 Seattles at Clash is pretty good, I think.

      Can't recall if any frigates in any of the fleets have carrier ability... I think PHR have one... Will look it up in the morning, it's 2:15 AM now, gotta crash... Signing off...

    2. Launch 3 each. . . at what UCM bomber stats. . . I think they are less useful

  3. I cheated a bit here. I glued 3mm magnets into the mounting rings on the ship, and on the hanger. For the weapons though, I just trimmed off the peg and replaced it with a 3mm magnet. The weapons stick out just a little farther than they were designed to, but it is hardly noticeable, and the connection is good and strong.